A humble little crossroads town on the way to the Chilean border, Uspallata is an oasis of poplar trees set in a desolate desert valley. The polychrome mountains surrounding the town so resemble highland Central Asia that director Jean-Jacques Annaud used it as the location for the epic film Seven Years in Tibet.
The town first gained fame as a low-budget base for the nearby ski fields at Los Penitentes, but has recently been coming into its own with a few companies offering treks, horseback riding and fishing expeditions in the surrounding countryside.
There’s a post office and a Banco de la Nación, which has an ATM. The tiny tourist office is across from the YPF gas station. It has good information on local sights and activities and some very basic (but still useful) area maps.